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Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren ran for president three times but was elected only once. He rose to national fame as secretary of state, then as vice president, under Andrew Jackson. Soon after Van Buren became president in 1838, the country was in the throes of an economic panic. Although much of what caused the depression developed during Andrew Jackson's administration, many people blamed Van Buren.


Lesson Plans | Primary Sources |


Lesson Plans:

The Panic of 1837 and the Presidency of Martin Van Buren - In this lesson, students will analyze period political cartoons as they study the causes of the economic downturn, Van Buren’s response as president, and the reaction to his measures.

The Campaign of 1840: William Henry Harrison and Tyler, Too - this unit allow students to become familiar with the issues and personalities and to review an assortment of primary documents. As students analyze them, they reflect on the presidential campaign of 1840. How was it conducted? What was the role of campaign advertising? How crucial were issues to the election of William Henry Harrison? How crucial was image?


Primary Source Documents:

Martin Van Buren's Innaugural Address - The ailing President Jackson and his Vice President Van Buren rode together to the Capitol from the White House in a carriage made of timbers from the U.S.S. Constitution. Chief Justice Roger Taney administered the oath of office on the East Portico of the Capitol. For the first and only time, the election for Vice President had been decided by the Senate, as provided by the Constitution, when the electoral college could not select a winner. The new Vice President, Richard M. Johnson, took his oath in the Senate Chamber.


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Van Buren National Historic Site
Biography of Van Buren